Stephen Taylor, Baron Taylor

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The Lord Taylor
The Lord Taylor.jpg
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
7 August 1958 1 February 1988
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Barnet
In office
26 July 1945 23 February 1950
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded by Reginald Maudling
Personal details
Stephen James Lake Taylor

(1910-12-30)30 December 1910
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire, England
Died1 February 1988(1988-02-01) (aged 77)
Wrexham, Wales
Nationality British
Political party Labour (Until 1981)
Social Democrats (1981-1988)
Occupation Politician

Stephen James Lake Taylor, Baron Taylor (SJL Taylor) (30 December 1910 – 1 February 1988) was a British physician, civil servant, politician and educator.



Born in High Wycombe, Stephen was the son of John Taylor, a civil engineer, and his wife Beatrice (Lake) Taylor. Educated at Stowe School and then at St Thomas Hospital Medical School, London, where he qualified in 1934.

When war broke out he joined the RNVR as a neuropsychiatrist. But in 1941, the government transferred him to the Ministry of Information. He worked on a plan to publish information about health services to the public during wartime. From 1940 to 1944 he was Director of Home Intelligence and the Wartime Social Survey in the Ministry of Information. But by 1944 it appears he was already working for the Labour Party to achieve an electoral victory at the war's end. Successfully elected Member of Parliament for Barnet in July 1945, he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council from 1947. He was an expert policy advisor on the National Health Service.

In 1951 he was invited by the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust to carry out a survey of general practice. [1] He went on to make a significant contribution to the development of general practice, holding a number of positions on medical boards and other organisations, including two stints as a member of Harlow New Town Development Corporation. [2] In 1955 he was appointed medical director to Harlow health Industrial Health Service for a period of nine years. But it appears was in such demand, that two years later resumed his role into retirement. Taylor was instrumental in the creation of Health Centres in Harlow. His model was rolled out to all major city centres across Britain, developing dental and nursing support within group practices. His survey of 1954 entitled Good General Practice was based on qualitative interviews at practices already identified as performing well by Joseph Collings report, General Practice in England : A Reconnaissance, (1950). NHS GP profession was still in its infancy, requiring much pioneering work to improve its services. Taylor sat on the Central Health Services Council, chaired by Sir Harry Cohen, the boss of Tesco. Local doctors had traditionally worked alone or in pairs, but the report resulted in group practice becoming the norm in Britain.

House of Lords

On 7 August 1958, he was created a life peer by letters patent as Baron Taylor, of Harlow in the County of Essex on Gaitskell's recommendation. [3]

In 1962, he mediated the end to the Saskatchewan doctors' strike in Saskatchewan, Canada. [4] [5] From 1964 he served the Labour government as Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Lord Taylor objected to Labour's efforts to "abolish private medical practice, to prevent part-time medical work within the NHS and to abolish destroying freedom of choice." He resigned from Labour Party in 1981 to sit with the Social Democratic Party. [6]

Lord Taylor was also President and Vice-Chancellor of Memorial University of Newfoundland from 1967 to 1973. After he retired from this position he became visiting professor of community medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland. [7]

Personal life

Taylor married Charity Clifford, a medical doctor and later Governor of Holloway Prison, in 1939. [8] He died in Wrexham aged 77.


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  1. "RCP London, Lives of the Fellows: Lord Stephen James Lake Taylor". RCPLondon. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  2. "Stephen James Lake Taylor, Lord Taylor of Harlow (1910-1988)". Houses of Parliament. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  3. "No. 41467". The London Gazette . 8 August 1958. p. 4930.
  4. "Lord Taylor of Harlow collection". Memorial University . Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  5. Canadian Museum of History — Making Medicare: "Mediation through Shuttle Diplomacy".
  6. The Times, 'Peer Leaves Labour', 8 July 1981.
  7. "Lord Stephen Taylor of Harlow". Memorial University . Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  8. Daniel Yates (7 January 1998). "Obituary: Lady Taylor". The Independent . Retrieved 17 June 2011.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Barnet
Succeeded by
Reginald Maudling
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Hornby
Nigel Fisher
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
With: Eirene White (1964–1965)
The Lord Beswick (1965–1966)
Succeeded by
The Lord Beswick
Academic offices
Preceded by
Moses Morgan (pro tempore)
President of Memorial University of Newfoundland
Succeeded by
Moses Morgan
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Granville-West
Senior life peer
Succeeded by
The Baroness Wootton of Abinger